Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Fat Albert Felt Like Today

The most hated athlete in DC (stop smiling Agent Zero) has failed at everything this offseason (other than picking up a fat $21 million bonus check). First, he tried to get traded and failed, then lost the respect of his teammates, and now, in his first day in training camp, failed his conditioning test. The details are murky, but it sounds like Shanahan was out to get him a little bit. According to Jason Reid, not-as-Fat Albert showed off his offseason weight loss and "killed it" in the first portion, but then look a bathroom break and then Shanahan made him do 1 more sprint, and Fat Albert failed. By bathroom break, I am pretty sure that means Fat Albert ran straight to the throne and puked.

Most reports say he had to run 3-300 yard sprints, but Reid's report refers to 3 'phases' and states that Fat Albert left for the bathroom midway through the 2nd phase, which makes the test sound like more than just 3 identical sprints. Does this mean Fat Albert ran 1 good '300', then was doing well on the 2nd but had to stop and puke, so Shanahan made him run a 3rd? If so, Shanahan sounds like a generous man offering him the opportunity for a 3rd sprint. The other reports seem to indicate that Fat Albert ran 2 great '300s', then immediately puked, and Shanahan somehow made up a ridiculous reason after the fact to make Fat Albert run a 3rd that was not part of the original test. So many questions! Only a few guys on the field know what really went down, but I did dig find this exclusive footage of Fat Albert's experience:

The bright side, in addition to the existence of that video, is that Fat Albert is in better shape than last year, and will soon pass the test and be back practicing as usual. Who knows when he will get back into the starting defense, but baby steps everyone......

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

D.J. King Will Break His Hand While Breaking Your Face

The newest Capital, D.J. King, is no small cookie. At 6'2" and 221 pounds he's around Alex Ovechkin's size, but instead of scoring highlight-reel goals and pissing off jealous Pittsburgh scrubs and getting with stone cold foxes on boats in Europe, he lets his fists do the talking. Gotta applaud him for that.

He even broke his hand beating the snot out of Krys Barch last season. Dedication to your craft. Toughness in the heat of battle. Bad-freaking-ass.

While I'll miss the somewhat unrealistic hope for a guy like Stefan Della Rovere to become a leader and pest on the Capitals in the near future, he was never gonna be the guy to lay down the law at the NHL level this year when need be. King can be that guy.

I was skeptical at first, but what the hell - he's already off to a good start in my book.

When told what Pittsburgh's Max Talbot had to say about Alex Ovechkin yesterday, King shot back, "Wow. I guess that's not going to be happening too much longer, I guess."

Having your teammate's - and captain's - back AND pissing off fans of a hated rival within hours of joining the team? Sign me up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

DCLS is Always Right - Especially about Strasburg

About a month ago I posted on Stephen Strasburg's current trade value after 4 games in the big leagues. For sake of simplicity, I decided to not factor in team need or player contract, but Fangraphs has used their fancy stats and gone ahead and created a great trade value column taking into account player contract. So what changed from my very-arbitrary list? Not much.

The top-4, in order, are Evan Longoria, Jason Heyward, Strasburg, Hanley Ramirez. Well, whaddya know? Exactly the same as I had them. This is actually not surprising when you consider the fact that younger players are more valuable than older players (aside from Pujols, no one was over 26 on my list of players to consider), and also that young players generally have better contracts than older players in baseball. Therefore, adding contract in the the equation should not change my list very much.

The better question may be how has Strasburg's performance over the past month changed his ranking on my list. As Fangraphs states,

"This may be as high as any pitcher will ever rank on this list. Strasburg has been nothing short of sensational so far in the big leagues, posting a ridiculous 2.11 xFIP in his first eight starts. His stuff is better than anyone in baseball, and it’s hard to see hitters figuring him out as long as he keeps throwing this hard. Oh, and the Nationals control his rights through 2016. He won’t make any serious money for another three years, so for now, the Nationals get one of the game’s best pitchers at about 5 percent of his market value. But, as with any pitcher, the risks are significant. The superlatives could all disappear with one pitch, as it has for so many phenoms before him. Pitcher attrition would keep other teams from giving up the kitchen sink to get Strasburg, but as good as he is, the refrigerator is probably on the table."

I think it is safe to say at this point that only thing holding back Strasburg from being the #1 guy are the injury concerns that go with being a pitcher . There is no issue with him facing good lineups or the league facing him a 2nd time, he might already be the best pitcher in baseball, and isn't about to dropoff anytime soon. Revisiting my list, with or without contracts, I can only come up with the same list as that from Fangraphs, so have only moved Strasburg up one spot past Hanley Ramirez; I still have to rank Longoria and Heyward ahead of Pitching Jesus.

(Image courtesy of